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Thread: Lightweight cataraft floors that repel spray?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Lightweight cataraft floors that repel spray?

    Trying to solve the spray problem with motorized catarafts, WITHOUT building heavy, solid, floor panels out of UHMV (for example). There's gotta be a lighter, more portable solution?

    My latest idea is to use a really heavy duty tarp, tucked under & lashed to the side rails, following the contour of the tubes down and across the top of the cataraft floor, with all the gear piled on top, to hold it down. The fore and aft edges of the tarp would also be lashed to cross-bars. The one in the bow might? be sloped upward and lashed to the high crossbar, while the stern edge would be lashed down flat to allow water to drain overboard out of the stern. The stern would also ride lower, while under power, to further promote drainage.

    Is this a workable theory? Or has someone already "been there, done that" and it didn't work!

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    Trying to solve the spray problem with motorized catarafts, WITHOUT building heavy, solid, floor panels out of UHMV (for example). There's gotta be a lighter, more portable solution?

    My latest idea is to use a really heavy duty tarp, tucked under & lashed to the side rails, following the contour of the tubes down and across the top of the cataraft floor, with all the gear piled on top, to hold it down. The fore and aft edges of the tarp would also be lashed to cross-bars. The one in the bow might? be sloped upward and lashed to the high crossbar, while the stern edge would be lashed down flat to allow water to drain overboard out of the stern. The stern would also ride lower, while under power, to further promote drainage.

    Is this a workable theory? Or has someone already "been there, done that" and it didn't work!

    Thanx, Dave.
    If you don't lash the front up high, it can become a scoop. You're correct on the stern; you have to keep it low enough for water to drain-- or perforate your tarp in that area. How are you getting your straps through the tarp material without water squirting through the holes (I'm talking about the straps that secure the tubes to the frame)?

    The only other issue with this method is that the tarp will eventually wear through where it runs under the tubes. It's a cheap fix though, and it might work for a while (it's been done before).

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx Mike,
    I was planning to fold all the edges of the tarp over double, and sew the hems together, then install lots of grommets around the perimeter. You're correct, that the frame straps will need to run under the tarp. So, I won't be able to tuck it under the side rails. Just lash it up as tight as possible, I guess. Since, the side rails rest outboard of the tubes' centerlines, I'm hoping that any water that gets pushed up that far under the tarp, will be directed outward, away from the crew and gear? I'm willing to use pretty heavy tarp material, maybe even fully double-layer the whole thing. As long as it can be rolled up for packing and transport.
    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  4. #4
    Member IndyCzar's Avatar
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    I just completed fabricating and installing a spray skirt for my 18' Lion Cataraft...Used 4x10 sheet of UHMW, (C&C Plastics, Wasilla about 370$) and a lot of trial and error for fit and finish...I am not sure how much it weighed but was easily handled single handed, maybe 30 lbs?...used a biscuit joiner to make the slots, dremel tooled the edges to smooth the edges for the straps, (spaced 16 inches apart)...it extends 2 feet aft of the motor and should keep the water out of the raft...obviously will not be able to test for a couple more months...the edges are further "sealed" with rubber pipe insulation against the tubes to prevent chaffing...

    I am excited to see how it works...Special thanks to the folks at Alaska Raft and Kayak for the ongoing advice...Thanks Mark...

  5. #5

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    Years ago I had SOTAR make a prototype inflatable floor for my hunting catarafts. It was en expensive project and it never could be perfected for functional field applications. But, I since used some 40-oz fabric from SOTAR that I used as a "spray dodger" for the cats. I installed grommets every 12" around the fabric and made it long enough to fit tightly against the sides and folded it up and secured it to the front bar in the bow. Worked great, weighed less than 12 lbs, and it rolled up and fit inside a plane. You might call and ask them for a cost, or Goo might be able to secure some swathes of material for you. Stronger than a tarp and won;t wear out.

    I now use those swathes of fabric as lightweight flexible sleds to drag meat over tundra. Urethane material slides well over ground and is vertually indestructable.

    Just a thought.

    larry

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx Larry, that sounds like a great idea!
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I like the idea of covering your frame straps. Sure has been necessary for me, primarily in whitewater situations, to be able to tighten, adjust, or replace frame straps quickly. I'd consider keeping them easily accessible.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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